Tradition and the love of skiing and snowboarding connect current owners Jeff and Jennifer Lewin to Blizzard’s successful past. Jeff started skiing with Blizzard when he was about 10 years old.
From the time our neighbors recruited my sister and me to join Blizzard, I couldn’t wait for the next Saturday trip and a chance to earn a coveted testing slip,” Jeff recalls. “I still remember pivotal lessons from those years like the time I first learned about ‘rebound’ from Dave Nelson at Birch Park; or the time Jim Rooney taught us ‘tip rolls’ at Frontenac; or when Tom Hanske had us skiing like mad, straight down Chicken at Welch; or when Walt Rasula (previous Blizzard owner) taught us Apprentice Instructors how to teach the sport we loved.” From these instructors, many of whom still teach at Blizzard, Jeff went on to earn a living on three continents as a professional ski instructor.
Blizzard began in 1958, created by Bob and LouAnn Carruthers as the official ski school of Dayton’s department store (the Twin Cities icon that is now part of Macy’s). Sadly, Bob, an avid pilot, died tragically in 1965 after suffering a heart attack while flying solo. The following year, a group of six Blizzard instructors (Walt Rasula, Bill Horgan, Jerry Barfus, Jim Anderson, Bob Blix and Jim Sugimura) purchased the school from LouAnn.
Blizzard continued to be successful through the 1960s with franchise Blizzard clubs opening in Milwaukee, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Bill McGoldrick acquired and ran the franchises outside of Minnesota. Some of these schools are still operating today as Blizzard or under other names. After a short period of ownership by a group of investors, Bill Horgan took the helm again and ran Blizzard through the 1970s.
In 1985, Bill Horgan sold Blizzard back to veteran instructors Walt and Mary Rasula. Within two years, another milestone occurred: Blizzard merged with the Hoigaard’s Ski Club and cemented a long-standing relationship with one of the area’s premier ski and snowboard shops. Walt sold Blizzard in 1992 to his son and daughter-in-law, Jay & Linda Rasula.
The Lewin family era began in 2004. Jeff loved spending Blizzard weekends on the snow with Max, Simon and Devra when they were kids.
“Thanks to those who established this huge legacy. We hope our efforts continue to grow Blizzard so our extended ski and snowboard family thrives for generations to come!” — Jeff & Jen Lewin
Tell us about your Blizzard history!
Share the good times you’ve had with Blizzard! We’re always happy to share and post. We especially love news of your success. Email uswith details on the following:
- Anyone who passed into Top Black, Silver or Gold as a skier
- Anyone who passed into Black or Top Black as a snowboarder
- Apprentice Instructors who passed Blizzard’s renowned Rainbow Exam
- Blizzard trophy, award, or competition winners
- Fun stories about your years in Blizzard
Since 1958, Blizzard has been providing snowsports instruction to youth around the country. Remember Birch Park and Frontenac? How about Royal Christies and Worm Turns? We do. Tradition and the love of skiing and snowboarding connect current owners Jeff and Jennifer Lewin to Blizzard’s storied past. Did you know Blizzard started in Minneapolis, but was a franchise in Boston, Milwaukee, and even California? Step back through the years and explore the history of Blizzard with our 50th Anniversary Yearbook!
Timmy Nunn Spirit of Blizzard Award Winners
Timmy Nunn was a member of Blizzard for four years, starting in SuperKyds in 2005-06. He was named Most Improved Skier that year and went on to earn Low Black in the Classic program. He couldn’t wait to get up every Saturday to join his friends at the bus stop and ski with Blizzard. Timmy passed away unexpectedly of mycarditis on July 24, 2009 at age 14 while hiking with his Boy Scout Troop at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Each year, we award the Timmy Nunn Spirit of Blizzard Award to honor Timmy’s love of snowsports and character at Blizzard, both on and off the hill.
2022 – Lucas Johnson & Eleanor Kristiansson
2021 – N/A
2020 – AJ Bendtsen & Sierra Welch
2019 – William Smith
2018 – Haley Andrews & Paige Kurtenbach
2017 – Anna Leitner & Rachelle Johnson
2016 – Ruth Freiberg & Noah Thompson, Bianca Tapernoux & Jackson Monk
2015 – Lauren Johson & Zaida Jolicoeur, Nick Jouault & Noah Ziebell
2014 – Meredith Shankwitz & Freddie Lang, Haley Wolf
2013 – Adam Aasen & Jared Rasula, Tristan Keckonen & Lia Harel
2012 – Evan Newman & Brie Case, Javier Gonzales & Stephanie Van Oppen